tv Viewpoint With Eliot Spitzer Current October 5, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
pendent. >>here's how you can connect with "viewpoint with eliot spitzer." >>questions, of course, need to be answered. >>we will not settle for the easy answers. >> eliot: if you want to lower the abortion rate there is an effective way to do it without changing the law. you can see it in our number of the day 61% that's how much birth rate fell when birth control was given away for free. this came out of a study by washington university, 9,000 women, many of whom were poor and uninsured were offered contraceptives without cost.
most got iuds or other implants which are the most effective option and usually quite expensive. but the drop in pregnancy more than made up in the expense. that is good news. we may soon see similar results across the country. the president's affordable care act gives access to contraceptive. if you're anti-abortion, stand up for obama-care.
>> eliot: is it mitt romney 8.0 or 9.0 the etch-a-sketch has been shaken so many times it's hard to keep track. mitt romney seemed to oppose every principle he had been campaigning on thus far. but apparently mitt's transformation has continued. last night romney continued to remove himself from a quotings
sour fog this time disavowing his comment that 47% of the country is compromised of moochers. >> romney: well, clearly in a campaign of thousands of sessions you're going to say something that doesn't come out right. in this case i came out somethingsaid somethingthat came out wrong. >> eliot: the largest single molly haul for either candidate this election cycle. for more, let's go to katrina vanden hovel, thank you for joining us tonight. >> thank you eliot. >> eliot: what is mitt romney? this meese of a fog. he stands for absolutely nothing. >> well, he's reinventing himself as fast as he can. he's fleeing from the man of up for
the nomination for tax cuts for the richest and callousness for the47%. the duck and cover the duck and cover that we see is an awareness on the part of the romney-ryan team that their programs are not popular with the american people. they're fudging as fast as they can. >> eliot: let's talk politician. you're right. he began as a moderate governor, who knows what he really thinks in his heart of hearts, none of us can really know. he moves so far right to the primary season then amazed everyone when he chose paul ryan as number two. that was signing an oath of allegiance to the far right. that was not going to work and then he swings back to the middle. why did it take him this long to realize this? >> the republican party has many factions and fractions.
they're losing and they're coming back for this election. mitt romney is a vehicle. you pointed out obama's hall in the money front. i read that romney is hauling in for the debate. he wants deregulation and benefits for the .01%. you're seeing that happen, and the tea party is willing to sit back and be quiet because they want to a winning candidate. >> eliot: they've made a fundamental pragmatic decision as they saw the campaign slipping away from them. >> we've seen this before in the republican party where you have a candidate who may not pay allegiance lip service to the movement conservatives the movement right, the movement extremists but they want to win. you know what i think? i think we play an important role the media--not left will be right but accountability truth-telling, watchdog media needs to make clear to the american people what mitt romney
and paul ryan's policies are on medicare healthcare. >> eliot: i think all that have is correct. but it runs a little deeper than that. there is a basic goodness to the american public. a sense of where mitt romney was going in the convection, the 47% video which incapsulated everything that the public didn't like. the public woke up and they ran away from him. >> the video reinforced what people felt in their gut. he was a man of the 1%, had offshore jobs and didn't feel for the americans. key, they want to make this on mitt romney, bain, and a man who has offshore--no, he wants to make this a referendum on obama's record. you're going to see that play out. it was trending toward becoming a referendum on mitt romney, the gilded age extremist. >> eliot: which was an easy
win-- >> easier. >> eliot: until mitt romney succeeded with another etch-a-sketch. >> we are not sure which way it will go. president obama has a lot of small donors and he has called for public funding and overturning citizens united. the ads on the ground are mitt romney bain capital and offshoring. >> eliot: the question in my mind is the mitt romney who projected very well wednesday night as someone who has been in those debates. >> a theater critic. he projected well, but the substance is what we need to drive home. >> eliot: katrina, absolutely right. but as a critic will the audience continue to show up for him? will the audience respond to that performance. >> president obama was disengaged. missed opportunities. he has a record of coming back, for example in 2008 came out in pennsylvania. miserable debate, came roaring
back. but again you have to pay attention to the tub substance. mitt romney and his partner paul ryan, not his wife, will gut medicare. they have no answer how they're going to do a revenue-neutral budget i know i'm politics orened but you have to mesh-- >> eliot: it's the lack of recreation that will permit the vineyard to be shattered. that's what troubled us watching president obama. let's jump ahead and some of my friends get angry when i do this. but i think this campaign will be a nice solid win for president obama. i want to project to the second term. i know-- >> no complacency. >> eliot: all caveats aside. >> i think a better direction and no complacency. >> eliot: that's exactly right. the pennsylvania voting i.d. structure top texas struck down. the courts are doing something hugely important. the rule of law is being established as a foundation
piece of the electoral process once again. >> that is important. >> eliot: back to my question. second term you have been critical of president obama on issues of civil liberties foreign policies, where do you see him going? >> on that front we have an editorial in our last issue. i would call it the election editorial but we do say reelect president obama. because the stakes are too high. but the forward movement, we saw it in gay rights. we need to stand up and say we're not secure with the escalation of drone wars or violation of civil liberties. there has to be a movement from people. i'm worried about austerity issues that you raised. you can look at europe, but if you see balancing the budget which i believe is not the short term objective. it shouldic to end joblessness
in this country. you will see the balancing of the budget on the backs of working class people, the poor, who have had to bear the suffering of wall street and have not shared in a recovery which is slim but beginning. >> eliot: what you're saying is hugely important. i'm fearful right after the election there will there there will be institutional pressure to solve the fiscal cliff and what they see is the looming deficit that that suddenly all the entitlement programs will be on the table. >> and gives us back in let's be pragmatic, a recession or depression which we're slowly coming out of. but i'm worried about the secret dark money. it may move from the presidential into the congressional races which are key to the second term. >> eliot: we've been focusing on the senate for precisely that reason. we'll have to have that discussion some other even. katrina vanden hovel, thank you for coming in this evening. i talked to damian echols, one of the west memphis three, who
>> eliot: not every is happy about today's job news. witness the absurd paranoia about all those pesky facts and their darned liberal bias. that's ahead on my view. and later tonight in "the war room," governor jennifer granholm will have more on today's job numbers with cal berkeley's laura tyson and san francisco chronicle's karla maranucci. that's ahead in "the war room." but first more "viewpoint" ahead. trickle down does not work. in romney's world, cars get the elevator and the workers get the shaft. that is a whole bunch of bunk. the powerful may steal an election, but they can't steal democracy.
if you have an opinion, you better back it up. >>eliot spitzer takes on politics. >>science and republicans do not mix. >>now it's your turn at the only online forum with a direct line to eliot spitzer. >>join the debate now. >> eliot: anything but good news. that could be the mantra of the republican party right now hoping for gloom and doom from now until november 6th. keep up the flow of negative news that will reinforce the desire they desperately hope for mitt's magic wanted to replace the hand of president obama at the tiller of the ship of state. so it must have been devastating to see a good jobs report, the 31st straight month of private sector job growth, bringing the total number of private sector jobs created under president obama over 4.6 million and the unemployment rate dropping .3 of
a point to 7.8%. the rate is now below when the president took over when the george w. bush cataclysm was gaining steam. shouldn't we all be overjoyed? not if you're hyper partisan voice of corporate plutocacy like jack welch who tweeted out the following message. unbelievable jobs numbers these chicago guys will do anything. can't debate so change numbers. come on, jack. the notion of the department of labor plays games with these numbers for political reasons is silly ludicrous and insulting to government workers who have reported news, good and bad faithfully for many decades. it strikes me, jack, that there have been a few more cases of corporate gamesmanship with financial numbers than cases where the government was not honest in the past few years. in fact, didn't your company g.e. have an accounting issue that led to a big sec settlement
not so long ago? now that you've made this outlandish claim, where is your proof, your evidence, the facts to substantiate you're certification, or is it just a partisan screed? you might remember when my office charged ge then under your leadership with a range of i am preprity we had the proof and the judge forced you to take out a full-page add admitted to your i don't think doing. the key jack, the evidence and facts. but more importantly why should anybody be surprised that we're finally digging out of the trough? i know the corporate titans want to believe that until their taxes are cut to zero nothing good will happen. but here is the thing. over the past four years the steady effort at keynesian stimulus monetary police has cut interest rates to near zero. while mitt romney thinks he can
solve our fiscal problems by firing big bird, the white house is focusing on a jobs agenda, and thankfully so. that's my view. vice presidential debate. with unrivaled analysis and commentary. >> the idea that he could criticize the president on the down grading, when he led the charge to block a resolution. outrageous. (vo) the only network with real-time reaction straight from the campaigns and from viewers like you. >>now that's politically direct.
based on the forced confession of one of these teen, a mentally handicapped young man along with the fact that the teens wore black and listened to heavy metal music, a community looking for vengeance convicted them. the three would serve 18 years in prison before being released last august after signing an alford plea, a feigned at mission of guilt that allowed the defendants to maintain their innocence but prevented them from suing the state for wrongful conviction. earlier this week i had a chance to speak to one of the west memphis three damien echolss who served his entire 18 years on death row. this is a tale of horror, thank you for joining us. >> thank you so much for having me. >> i just feel like--where did it go wrong? you lived a horror tale of one error after another. take us through where were the errors? the police, the judge the
prosecutors, did they compile one on top of the other? >> absolutely. after the balance started rolling no one wanted to admit that they made a mistake. even when dna evidence started to come back in that said me and the other two guys were never at the crime scene and it found out that the dna matched two other men, they said that's not good enough, we're going to keep maintaining this conviction. no one wanted to admit that they had messed up. >> eliot: it seems when you look back it was just this blood thirst for vengeance after a horrific crime and you were the easy person to charge and point the finger at. how about the local media. was there anybody in the media--i'm not looking for blame, but did anyone stand up and say step back and examine this. >> not for a long, long time. in the beginning it was like a media feeding frenzy. every day when the news came on you would hear the stories reported of satanic rituals
and/orgies where they were stirring the community into an absolute frenzy, trying to make it as sensational as they possibly could. it was years down the road when new witnesses started coming forward, new dna evidence started coming out then they started to accurately report what was happening. but until then they made it as sensational as possible so that by the time we walked into the courtroom by that point the trial was just a formality that they had to go through in order to sentence us. >> eliot: i have looked, and i have not delved into this as many people have, but when you look at the evidence, it was non-existence there was one coerced confession which did not hold up under scrutiny at all. did your lawyers give you real representation? were they skilled in death penalty cases? did they have the skills needed to put on a new defense for you? >> absolutely not. we had these attorneys that had never dealt with a capital murder case. they didn't have experience,
they didn't know what they were doing, severely underfunded. also, you know, they came from a really small tight-knit community where they had to work with the same judge and same prosecutors on a daily basis. they didn't want to risk pushing too hard because to them this was just one case. they knew they were going to a have to come back and work with these same people on the daily basis, and didn't want to do anything that would make them angry. >> eliot: every bit of social pressure came down. you were just a small gear in a much larger system, and nobody really cared. until fortunately you got a movie that was made, and some people who were far away by happenstance in their enormous credit decided to take a hard look at this without that, what would have happened? >> oh, they would have murdered me. the state would have gotten away with murdering me. the only reason they even--that i'm sitting here now is because the pressure became too great. there was too much of a public
outcry and they knew it would cost them if they didn't do something in this case. really, they would have murdered me and never lost a night sleep over it if not for that. >> eliot: tell us briefly if you can a bit--give us a sense of what life was like in prison? >> it's a hell beyond anything i could even begin to articulate. you know, it's a regular occurrence in there. you have beatings, starvation, torture. it's something that scars you for the rest of your life. you never ever get over it. you know, i'll probably spend the rest of my life trying to recover from this. >> eliot: did you give up faith and hope? you lived through what we read about when they wrote about the gulag in russia. did you give up faith at any point? >> i lost all faith and all belief in the system but what i didn't lose faith or belief in were the people who would write to me on a bailey basis and
people who would spread the word on websites and wearing free the west memphis three t-shirts. doing everything they could to raise awareness to raise the money that we needed to get forensic testing to be done. this situation that we went through completely robbed me of faith in the system. >> eliot: you can't argue against your conclusion. the alford plea that you took. there is a certain paradox there, you're feigned pleading to something, and everyone knows that is a formality. the state woke up and said, we can't prove the case. we're not going to go through retrial, and that woke them up. did that cause psychological tension for you, i don't want to give them anything at all and they should confess their error. >> absolutely it did. at the same time i knew they could drag this case out another five years ten years constantly appealing decisions asking for extensions, things like that. i didn't have that long.
my health was defer rating rapidly. the day i walked out of prison i weighed 67 pounds less than i do now. i was going blind and i had many health problems. not only that, the prosecutor said one of his consideration was the fact that we could all have collectively sued the state for $60 million. i knew i could be stabbed to death for a pack of cigarettes any day of the week in prison. it happens all the time. i knew if i didn't take the deal i would not live to leave the outside of those walls. >> eliot: you gave up the right to sue the state? >> exactly. that was their very first question. would i sign an agreement saying i gave up all rights to sue the state of arkansas. >> eliot: let me get this right. you were wrongfully convicted put on death row and then you have to give up your right to sue the state to get out. >> that's what it all comes down to. >> eliot: i think it's fair to say that you would lose faith in the system after that number quickly tell us what life has been like since you got out. you look and sound great
compared to where you were, obviously. how has it been? >> it's been rough. i was in solitary confinement for almost the last decade that i was in, so get out here there is a lot of adjustment. for the first two or three months i was in complete shock and trauma. it has taken me a long time to come out of that and learn to navigate my way through society. >> eliot: you're living up in boston? >> salem yes right outside of boston. >> eliot: i don't want to draw any metaphors but salem that's where they used to have the witch-hunt. >> that has given them a tolerance. they don't want to make the same mistakes as before. >> eliot: if you think that we can learn from history then you have not given up on hope and humanity after all you've been through. thank you for joining us. good luck. man, you are a testament to perseverance and faith. >> thank you so much for having me. >> eliot: damian and the other members of the west memphis three continue to fight for their full exoneration while